Victoria Bylin’s interview

» Posted on Feb 12, 2009 in Blog | 10 comments


This week I’m hosting Miralee Ferrell with Love Finds You in Last Chance, California and Victoria Bylin with The Maverick Preacher. If you want to be entered in the either of the drawings or both, please leave a comment this week and your email address (this is necessary in order for me to contact you) or you can email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday evening.

Victoria Bylin’s interview:

1. What made you start writing?
I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember. My favorite books as a child were “The Black Stallion” series by Walter Farley and the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Somewhere in the midst of those adventures I felt a longing to tell stories of my own. I tried writing fiction in college, but my mind was mired in academics. I kept journals and wrote a lot of letters, but fiction remained my first love.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I got serious about writing romance in January 1999, shortly after my dad passed away. I realized I didn’t want to leave this earth without finishing a book length work of fiction. I sat down and started a western historical romance. I named the heroine Susan and put her in a barn with a dead body! The next thing I knew, I was on chapter three and loving the story. That first manuscript didn’t sell, but it taught me how to write. I sold my second completed manuscript in February 2002 to Harlequin Historicals.

3. How do you handle rejections?
No one likes to see a returned manuscript sitting on the front porch. I know! My first rejected ms arrived on my birthday. I saw the UPS envelope and thought, “Oh, boy! My mom sent me a birthday present.” Not! The moment was heartbreaking, but I’ve since become much more circumspect. A rejection isn’t a comment on the writer’s worth as a human being. I’d tell anyone who’s completed a book-length manuscript to celebrate. It’s an awesome achievement. As for selling, that’s in God’s hands. Do your best. Study the craft. Take the risk. Wait. Hope. Pray. And let God be in charge.

4. Why do you write?
I read somewhere that fiction is the marriage of logic and emotion. I love that definition. I write because I’m a puzzle addict. I like putting pieces together and discovering a bigger picture.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
I truly don’t know. I can’t sing a lick, can’t draw and don’t like to cook! I enjoy listening to music and walking, and I enjoy the outdoors, but I’d want to find something with a purpose.

6. What are you working on right now?
I’ve got two books in process. The first is Kansas Courtship (LIH, Mar 2010). This is the third book in a three-book continuity called “After the Storm.” It’s set in High Plains, Kansas in 1859. The town has been wiped out by a tornado and the people are rebuilding both the town and their lives. The continuity launches in January 2010 with Valerie Hansen’s book, High Plains Bride. That will be followed in February by Heartland Wedding by Renee Ryan.

As soon as I finish Kansas Courtship, I’ll go back to the book that follows The Maverick Preacher. I don’t have a title yet, but the story is set in 1875 Cheyenne. The heroine is a preacher’s daughter in need of a second chance, and the hero is a lawman with a secret. The overall series is called “The Women of Swan’s Nest.”

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
I do, but it’s not deliberate. Little things stand out. I used to work for an ophthalmologist. Somehow eye conditions have worked their way into all my books. I’m currently working for a dermatologist, and now my characters have skin issues! On a more serious note, I come from a typical family that’s dealt with tough times. My books aren’t autobiographical, but I’ve “felt the feelings” that I write about.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
The Maverick Preacher is about a man searching for peace. Once an esteemed Boston minister, Joshua Blue has been knocked off his high horse. He’s now searching for his sister and her illegitimate baby to make up for his prideful mistakes. Instead of his sister, he finds Adie Clarke. Adie owns Swan’s Nest, a boardinghouse for women in trouble. She also has an adopted son and the answers concerning Josh’s sister . . . answers that could cost her everything.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
I have a list of sayings taped to my desk. Here are my favorites: (1) WRITE BIG! (2) Don’t limit God. (3) Conflict is a fight. When in doubt, throw another cat in the bag. (4) Convey emotion through action. (5) Every good story starts with a threat. Last, I’d say, “Love what you do.”

10. How important is faith in your books?
It’s the main thing. In a way, it’s the only thing. I can’t imagine telling a story that isn’t a spiritual journey. I don’t always have a salvation thread, but my characters will always emerge with a deeper faith.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
I have three that keep popping up: Redemption, Resurrection and Restoration. My books are generally about men and women finding forgiveness, coming back to life after a tragedy, or regaining ground they’ve lost.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

My favorite book is the only manuscript I haven’t been able to sell. Mainstream publishers said it was too Christian. I knew it was too mainstream for a Christian publisher, so I didn’t try that market. The hero is a travel writer who’s living life in the fast lane when God knocks him off his motorcycle. The heroine is still mired in the ways of the world. One of these days, I’m going to rewrite it and try again.

13. What is your writing schedule like?
In addition to writing books, I work part-time in a doctor’s office. I get up early when I can, approximately 5 a.m.. I get the most written early in the morning and on Saturdays. If my husband’s watching the SciFi Channel, sometimes I’ll write at night.

10 Comments

  1. Hey Margaret, thanks for posting Vicki’s interview. She’s a very interesting gal, isn’t she.

  2. I love Love Inspired book line. This sounds like a wonderful book.

  3. Please enter me for both books…..THANKS…

    katie8407(@)gmail(dot)com

  4. Hello ladies! Thank you for stopping by. It’s been a joy to write for Love Inspired Historicals. Not only are the books enjoyable, we have wonderful readers!

  5. Victoria, I loved The Black Stallion books. Of course, I loved horses and reading, so it was a match. Great interview.

  6. I like what Victoria keeps taped on her desk! All are great, but I am wondering what WRITE BIG really means. Do you think it means write with a big imagination? Just curious…
    I must say The Maverick Preacher sounds wonderful!

  7. Hi Nancy, I was 10 or 11 when my grandmother got me started on Walter Farley’s books. We’d visit her every Sunday, and every Sunday she had a new one for me. I’m planning on dedicating my March 2010 book (Kansas Courtship) to both my grandmothers because they inspired me to read and write.

    Enjoy!

  8. Hi Sherrinda! “WRITE BIG” is taken from Jack Bickham’s books. When I started writing, I discovered “The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes.” That book changed my life. Bickham talks about creating characters who are larger than life. Even the most ordinary character needs to have *something* extraordinary to keep readers (and the writer) interested.

    I applied WRITE BIG to plot as well. I try to think of the biggest risk a character would take, and then make it even riskier. Another way to say this is “raise the stakes.”

    From another angle, WRITE BIG means don’t hold back! Don’t worry that a scene is “too” this or “too” that. Don’t worry what anyone will think. With prayerful consideration, I try to tell the story with as much passion, as much courage, as I can. My next ms for LIH is going to have an outlaw hero who’s desperately in need of God’s grace. It’s going to be fun to “write big” on that one!

  9. I too was a fan of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. I was a voracious reader even as a child and between the school and public library, I read my way through his whole series plus the Island Stallion books too.

    Please enter me in the drawings for both books. I can’t wait to read them!

    Blessings,
    Becca
    becca.dowling[at]yahoo[dot]com

  10. Thanks for the interviews, Margaret! I’d love to be entered for both drawings. I’ve enjoyed Vicki’s other titles, but haven’t read Miralee’s yet!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

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